Sitting on the Bus (Ellsworth Kelly)

Wikipedia Poem, No. 941

movement within the frame movement
within the rods and cones? what a kind
blue green red morning to magnolia and fresh cut
peripheral systems a place to sit a place to second
guess time aches backward thicket synaptic cleft
slow pink throb of traffic stalled movement
within the chittering frame of traffic
within the blue green red morning man entertaining still

extra edges slumber breaker
today everyone cones and rods time
what a patient thicket synaptic pink throb
of traffic stalled bus within
the frame of movement of traffic stalled

the question
lines and points? what kind of
camouflage causes
the eye to magnolia?
what a kind man. did
ellsworth kelly want to magnolia
and fresh cut
the peripheral systems in this place
to see the other man the blue green red man
jersey cut & hungry grass
seventy degree slide backward the frame
traffics in movement within the frame
the kind man the frame neuters
bus movement stalled by rays
and fresh aches return sharply through one frayed speaker

Ellsworth Kelly (1923-2015), Blue Green Red, 1964. Oil on linen, overall: 73 1/4 × 100 3/8 in. (186.1 × 255 cm). Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; Purchase, with funds from the Friends of the Whitney Museum of American Art 66.80 © Ellsworth Kelly


Narrator: In this painting, Ellsworth Kelly made an abstract painting out of the three hues mixed to produce color television—a recent invention at the time he completed this work.

Darby English: Kelly is looking at the basics of painting making: color relationships, composition, non-composition, and he’s trying to present the basics as the basics that they are—without losing the soul.

Narrator: Art historian Darby English.

Darby English: Imagine being an artist or being someone trying to be an artist and going to a handbook with the basic information about shapes and colors and composition laid out before you, you see a lot of charts, you see a lot of things presented in sequence and in hierarchies, you see a lot of things set into very legible diagrammatic relationships so that, quote, unquote, anyone who comes along and picks it up can learn the principles.

Kelly’s question seems to be, how can I present the basic information in a way that lacks the coldness and the abstractness of a diagram? It’s in a way like teaching without didacticism, if that makes any sense.

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